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Revenue, Users or Subscriptions: What Matters for OTT Video?

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Some say Netflix now has more U.S. subscribers than U.S. cable TV providers. That is true. But the claim has to be put into context.
There now are about 93.3 million U.S. linear video accounts in service, according to Leichtman Research. Of course, the cable TV segment does have 48.6 million accounts, as Statista notes.
But the linear video category includes both satellite and telco suppliers. So some might argue the appropriate comparison is Netflix or OTT video versus “all linear video subscription” providers.
Looked at that way, Netflix still has some ways to go before it can be said to represent more accounts than linear TV, as Netflix has about half the number of total  linear video accounts.
Of course, Netflix is not the only U.S. over the top video provider. Add up paid subscriptions from Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling and others and you can make an argument there are as many OTT video subscriptions as linear subscriptions.
For purposes of measuring financial results, accounts--not “u…

OneWeb Approval Means More Stress on Rural Operator Business Model

There is, in essence, no commercially-viable and sustainable business model for fixed network communications services in many rural areas of the United States, even in some cases where there is but one supplier.  That is why we have subsidies for such services.
But the business model is going to get worse. Even if competition from cable operators do not worsen, and even if internet service providers using fixed wireless, and even if mobile operators do not become stronger competitors, there rather soon will be one or more providers with sufficient scale, and low enough recurring costs, to provide new competition.
OneWeb, for example, plans to offer internet access from a new constellation of low earth orbit satellites that will be able to offer internet access at speeds up to 100 Mbps initially, and possibly a gigabit later, across the United States, and, if fact, covering the surface of the earth, ultimately. The Federal Communications Commission has approved a request by WorldVu Sat…

ARPU Will be an Issue for 5G

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One way fixed network operators have had an advantage over mobile operators is the ability to create differentiated offers for internet access. It is common to find fixed network internet service providers offering a range of speeds, and a range of prices.
You might well wonder why mobile operators have not done so. Technology constraints are the issue.
That regime has not developed in the mobile market (for reasons related directly to the way radios are used in mobile, compared to fixed network customer premises equipment.
Fixed network modems are “nailed up” to specific locations and accounts. That means different offers can be created and supplied.
Use of mobile radio resources always is temporary. Radio resources are allocated and then released on a routine basis, over a period of minutes or maybe hours, with lots of contention for ports. So it simply is inefficient or impossible to offer dedicated speeds.
There are other differences. Retail pricing in the fixed networks business …

What if 5G Produces No Net Revenue Increase?

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The conventional wisdom is that 5G is going to create new revenue sources for mobile operators. That undoubtedly will prove true, to an extent; and perhaps to a significant extent.
What remains unclear is whether 5G actually will produce a net increase in mobile broadband revenues, even if 5G produces a gross increase in such revenues.
In other words, on a net basis, it is conceivable that 5G literally produces no net gain in access revenue. The reason is that, unlike the case in the 3G era, the 5G mobile internet market is going to operate in a mature environment in most markets.
In the transition from 2G to 3G, one might note an overall increase in mobile operator revenues, as the internet access market was young. By the time 4G arrives, growth mainly is substitution, not net growth. That is likely to be the case in the 5G era as well.
To wit, new 5G revenues will include some element of actual growth (IoT subscriptions, for example). But many of the 5G accounts will simply be substi…

No Good Retail Pricing Options for One Small Telco

Ogden, Utah is a one-square-mile town with about 823 households, Ogden Telephone Company is the entity providing fixed network communications services to “over 1500 households and businesses” in Boone County, with internet access speeds up to 200 Mbps, costing between $30 a month for 3-Mbps service up to $330 a month for the 200 Mbps version.
Residential phone service retails for about $30, after the taxes and fees. The firm also provides video subscriptions, supplied over a fiber-to-home network. And there is no local cable TV operator competing for customer attention.
Apparently, customers not choosing a bundle including voice service now have to pay an $80 fee. Other telcos seem to “solve” their revenue problems in similar ways, charging more money per-unit for purchases of “naked internet service” without voice than for a bundle including two or three services.
Sometimes, especially on promotional plans, the cost of buying voice service is low enough to entice customers to buy a tr…

What Verizon's Pole Attachment Stance Tells You

For every public purpose there are corresponding private interests. Consider pole attachments.
Attackers generally support less-costly, simpler, faster processes for gaining the right to string communications cables on telephone and light poles. Incumbents generally oppose such moves, as faster, easier, cheaper pole attachments mean more potential competition, faster.
Of course, interests are not simple. Cable TV companies, which once were attackers, argued for simpler pole attachments, until they became incumbents. Now the tier-one cable companies oppose “one touch make ready” and other measures to ease the process of creating an access network.
But even in the tier-one incumbent arena, business interests vary. AT&T generally opposes such measures, while Verizon now supports easier pole attachments. There is a simple reason. AT&T has the largest fixed network footprint, and so is an incumbent in much of the United States.
Verizon, in contrast, serves a relatively small portio…

With 60-MHz Channels, Sprint Expects 3 Gbps to 6 Gbps Per Sector

Sprint plans to deploy Massive (multiple input, multiple output) MIMO radios with 128 antenna elements in its 2.5 GHz spectrum to increase capacity to reach 3 Gbps to 6 Gbps per sector on its 4G network, Sprint notes.
When deployed on the network, Massive MIMO can provide all mobile device users with performance improvements, and those with the latest generation of devices with the most antenna elements will see the best performance.
In recent field testing, Massive MIMO Samsung radios, equipped with vertical and horizontal beam-forming technology, reached peak speeds of 330 Mbps per channel using a 20 MHz channel of 2.5 GHz spectrum.
Capacity per channel increased about four times, cell edge performance increased three times, and overall coverage area improved as compared to current radios.

With 60-MHz channels, Sprint believes it will be able to boost capacity up to 6 Gbps per tower sector.